England FA Cup: Newcastle United survive scare to eliminate Blackburn Rovers

Newcastle United reached the quarter-finals of this season’s FA Cup following a penalty shoot-out win at Ewood Park.

Anthony Gordon gave United – backed by more than 7,000 travelling supporters – the lead midway through the second half, but Sammie Szmodics levelled for their Championship opponents.

Newcastle had gone out of the Carabao Cup at the quarter-final stage on penalties in December, but Martin Dúbravka was their hero this time as he saved two spot-kicks, having already made a string of stops during the game and extra time.

Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes because of queues outside the ground – an issue which seemed to affect both sets of supporters – but even when referee Jarred Gillett finally got proceedings underway, the action took some time to get going.

A Bruno Guimarães volley was blocked early on but neither side was able to fashion a clear-cut opening until the 27th minute, when Blackburn’s leading scorer Sammie Szmodics passed up a great opportunity to put the hosts in front. The Rovers frontman was slid in by John Buckley, but smashed his shot into the side-netting at the Bryan Douglas Darwen End.

Schar converted first and Dubravka saved from Szmodics, but then Barnes was denied by Pears. Callum Brittain scored but so did Guimaraes.

Sigurdsson netted and Elliot Anderson – making his first appearance since October as a late substitute – also swept home.

Ayari sent Dubravka the wrong way but Gordon scored for Newcastle. And when Dúbravka saved Hyam’s spot-kick, Newcastle were through to the last eight.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with en.Africatopsports.com.

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